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The world's only carbon-negative power source (pictures) - CNET ("check it out!")

The world's only carbon-negative power source (pictures) - CNET ("check it out!") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The world's only carbon-negative power source (pictures)
CNET
BERKELEY, Calif. -- All Power Labs, a startup in this city across the Bay from San Francisco, makes what it says is the world's only carbon-negative power system.

Its PowerPallet systems come in 10- and 20-kilowatt configurations and produce a fuel using a process called gasification that will work in most engines by feeding in dense biomass. The company says that its system can produce power for about $1.50 per watt, and is being used in many developing nations to produce power for about a third of the cost of existing systems. Most buyers purchase the $27,000 20kW system.

In addition to producing carbon-neutral electricity, the machines also produce a carbon-rich charcoal that can be used as a very effective fertilizer. Because it pulls more carbon out of the sky than it puts back in, the company says the system is carbon-negative.

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Oceans Are Losing Oxygen. Here’s Why That’s a Big Problem (ocean warming is causing oxygen loss")

Oceans Are Losing Oxygen. Here’s Why That’s a Big Problem (ocean warming is causing oxygen loss") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Oceans across the globe are slowly losing oxygen, a new study has found. That poses a major problem for every living marine animal.

A new Nature study published this week found that oxygen levels in worldwide oceans have dipped by more than 2% in the last half-century. While the change may seem small, scientists say even subtle shifts in gas levels can alter entire ecosystems. 

“It’s significant,” said Rob Dunbar, an Earth science professor at Stanford University. “Anything with a gill is going to care and notice.” 

Dunbar, who studies climate change in the tropics and Antarctica seas but who was not part of the Nature study, said the oxygen drop can have rippling effects across the deep blue. Larger marine animals, like sharks, require more oxygen, especially to carry out high-energy activities like feeding. Dropping oxygen levels create “no-go zones” for some sea creatures, leaving them fewer areas to eat and reproduce, Dunbar said. 

“It’ll be harder for organisms to make a living in the ocean,” he said. 

Coastal economies and fisheries, already stressed by overfishing and pollution, also take a hit when oceans lose oxygen. The gas-level shift poses “potentially detrimental consequences,” according to the Nature study, which was conducted by the Germany-based GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research. It can be difficult for scientists to determine the consequences for specific ocean animals, because they are also affected by human activities, including fishing and dumping.

Gas levels in the ocean are controlled in part by the temperature of the sea. Gases — like oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide — disappear from the ocean when water heats up. “If you boil water to make tea, one of things you’re doing is de-gassing that water,” Dunbar said. “It’s just based on simple chemistry.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Dropping oxygen levels create “no-go zones” for some sea creatures, leaving them fewer areas to eat and reproduce.
“It’ll be harder for organisms to make a living in the ocean.”

"Gas levels in the ocean are controlled in part by the temperature of the sea. Gases — like oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide — disappear from the ocean when water heats up. “If you boil water to make tea, one of things you’re doing is de-gassing that water,” Dunbar said. “It’s just based on simple chemistry.” 
"The same idea can be applied when thinking about massive bodies of water. Dunbar said oxygen will leave oceans as the water becomes warmer from a hotter atmosphere. “Global warming is happening in the oceans,” he said. “The fact remains, independent of the cause, oceans are heating up.”
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Car ban fails to curb air pollution in Mexico City - BBC News ("need more direct action vs pollution")

Car ban fails to curb air pollution in Mexico City - BBC News ("need more direct action vs pollution") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Banning cars on Saturdays in a heavily polluted city hasn't made the air any cleaner, according to new research.

"I looked at a whole bunch of pollutants, mean levels, maximum levels, every hour of the day, but I couldn't find any evidence that the programme improved air quality," Dr Lucas Davis from the University of California, Berkeley, who carried out the study told BBC News. 

"The thinking was it was supposed to get people to take public transportation but if you look at data, they didn't and anecdotally people say they don't take the subway on the day they can't drive, they get a family member to drive them or they take taxis." 

Public transport in Mexico City is inexpensive the author says, but often overcrowded. He also believes there are cultural factors behind the reluctance to give up the car. 

"Driving is a real status symbol in Mexico City, and once a family have raised enough money to buy a car, there's a status associated with private vehicles that's tough for people to break. There's a bit of a cultural or socio-economic resistance to taking public transport." 

Despite this study, other experts believe that Mexico has made significant strides towards improving the environment while both the population and the economy have expanded and hundreds of thousands of new vehicles have come on to the roads. 

"Alongside driving restrictions, Mexico City has made massive investments in public transport to provide cleaner alternatives to driving," said Mark Watts, executive director of C40, the global network of cities dedicated to improving the environment and fighting climate change.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The number coding and public transportation systems do not seem enough to make a significant dent in air pollution, based on Mexico City studies.
We have to go back to the war room and dig deeper into our creative strategies. We cannot breathe dirty air forever.

"You have to go more directly after pollution," says Dr Davis. 
"So that means increasing the cost of driving, and that means higher gas prices, or congestion pricing or parking and it also means more emissions testing and making it more stringent."
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Climate Change: Images of Change: Older, thicker Arctic sea ice declines ("pictures speak volumes")

Climate Change: Images of Change: Older, thicker Arctic sea ice declines ("pictures speak volumes") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The area covered by Arctic sea ice at least four years old has decreased from 718,000 square miles (1,860,000 square kilometers) in September 1984 to 42,000 square miles (110,000 square kilometers) in September 2016. Ice that has built up over the years tends to be thicker and less vulnerable to melting away than newer ice. In these visualizations of data from buoys, weather stations, satellites and computer models, the age of the ice is indicated by shades ranging from blue-gray for the youngest ice to white for the oldest.

Bert Guevara's insight:
If you understand the delicate balance of life on earth, then you will be alarmed at what the loss of the ice caps will mean for the planet and man's survival.
Open the page and find out for yourself.
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Beijing creates anti-smog police to tackle air polluters ("polluters are now chased like criminals")

Beijing creates anti-smog police to tackle air polluters ("polluters are now chased like criminals") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Force will patrol streets looking for rules violations including open-air barbecues, rubbish burning and dusty roads

Beijing will create an environmental police force aimed at tackling deadly smog, after the Chinese capital spent the first week of 2017 mostly shrouded in a thick haze of pollution. 

The new law enforcement outfit will patrol the streets, eyes peeled for open-air barbecues, trash burning and dusty roads that violate regulations, the city’s acting mayor Cai Qi said at the weekend. 

Beijing will also shut its last coal-fired power plant and reduce coal consumption by 30% this year, Cai said according to state media. Officials will shut 500 factories and 300,000 older vehicles will be taken off the road. 

“There is still a long way to go to meet the expectation of the public,” he added, admitting he wakes up every morning and checks the air quality, along with the weather report. 

The capital is frequently beset with toxic smog and levels of harmful air pollution in 2015 were more than eight times those recommended by the World Health Organization. 

China declared a “war on pollution” in 2014, but has struggled to deliver the sweeping change many had hoped to see and government inspections routinely find pollutions flouting the law.

Last week, inspection teams from the environment ministry found some companies resuming operations despite a government ban, known as a “red alert”, aimed at curbing smog. More than 500 construction sites and businesses and 10,000 vehicles violated measures to reduce air pollution. 

But Beijing’s new police squad may do little to help residents breathe easy.

Bert Guevara's insight:
If Pres. Duterte declared an all-out war vs illegal drugs, China declared a war vs air polluters. Both illegal drugs and air pollution kill!
But this is the first time I heard of air pollution cops.

"China declared a “war on pollution” in 2014, but has struggled to deliver the sweeping change many had hoped to see and government inspections routinely find pollution flouting the law."
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Plants appear to be trying to rescue us from climate change ("nature compensating for man's excess")

Plants appear to be trying to rescue us from climate change ("nature compensating for man's excess") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Carbon-hungry plants are sucking more man-made pollution out of the atmosphere than ever. But why? And will it last?

The experts were puzzled. Human activity was still polluting the air, but the amount of man-made carbon that lingered there appeared to be in decline. “That portion that stays in the atmosphere – that’s called the airborne fraction," said Trevor Keenan, co-author of the report, "and that has reduced by about 20% over the last 15 years.” The reduction is clearly visible in this next chart, where the airborne fraction thins out after 2002, breaking with the historical upward trend.

So what's going on? Humans haven't stopped emitting huge amounts of noxious gases, and carbon dioxide hasn't stopped accumulating in the atmosphere – it's just that lately, strangely, the rate at which it accumulates is slowing down, or at least holding steady. 

The reasons for this aren't yet quantified, say the team at Berkeley Lab. One thing we do know is that as global warming drove up levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past century, plants appear to have responded to the increase by photosynthesizing faster. 

And it's not just that they're working harder: the world's flora is also spreading further afield. Scientists at Boston University have reported a worldwide "fertilization" effect, after satellite surveillance showed that somewhere between a quarter and half of the world's vegetated areas were becoming significantly greener, most worryingly in hitherto ice-encrusted territories such as the Arctic.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Surprise! 
“That portion that stays in the atmosphere – that’s called the airborne fraction ... that has reduced by about 20% over the last 15 years.” ... the airborne fraction thins out after 2002, breaking with the historical upward trend.

"One thing we do know is that as global warming drove up levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past century, plants appear to have responded to the increase by photosynthesizing faster."
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Are You Ready to Drive on Solar Panel Roadways? ("the energy potential is simple awesome!")

Are You Ready to Drive on Solar Panel Roadways? ("the energy potential is simple awesome!") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Scott and Julie Brusaw are the founders of Idaho-based company Solar Roadways. They created a system of solar panels coated with bulletproof glass that can replace pavement. It's not an unprecedented idea: both the Netherlands and France are researching solar roadways. But they have not yet been tried in the U.S.

The Brusaws just installed their first pilot project in Sandpoint, Idaho. And they are working with the Missouri Department of Transportation on a project at a rest stop on Route 66. 

Brusaw: "We're hoping to be mass-manufacturing toward the end of next year and I expect to see them on residential roads probably in two to three years."

Skeptics worry about the durability of the panels and also the expense of producing and maintaining them. 

But the Brusaws said the roads will pay for themselves over time by generating clean energy that can be delivered and sold to consumers. 

Roads hold tremendous potential as sources of clean power. For example, the Brusaws said if every road in the U.S. was made of solar panels, we could produce three times more energy than we use as a country.

Bert Guevara's insight:
We should recognize a brilliant idea when we see one.

"Roads hold tremendous potential as sources of clean power. For example, the Brusaws said if every road in the U.S. was made of solar panels, we could produce three times more energy than we use as a country."
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Can Miami Beach Hold Its Ground vs King Tides? ("there is a limit to adaptation vs sea level rise")

Can Miami Beach Hold Its Ground vs King Tides? ("there is a limit to adaptation vs sea level rise") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

A city must decide whether to retreat or stand and fight when rising seas come crashing in.

Around this time last year, the Atlantic was gushing over Miami Beach’s seawalls and up through storm drains, turning low-lying Indian Creek Drive into a briny river. So-called king tides made headlines, and Al Gore famously said, “I was in Miami last fall during the supermoon, one of the highest high-tide days. And there were fish from the ocean swimming in some of the streets of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale and Del Rey. And this happens regularly.” 

Located on a barrier island off the southeastern coast of Florida, Miami Beach is ground zero for sea-level rise. This year, though, as seasonal king tides return, the city is hoping to stay dry while it demonstrates climate adaptation is possible with bricks, mortar, and human ingenuity. One can admire that kind of grit, but any long-term solution is still untested, and legitimate questions are surfacing: For how long should we keep fortifying infrastructure, and at what point do we pack up and leave? 

Miami Beach has so far spent about $150 million of the $400 million the city says it needs to save itself from the sea. Stormwater fees have increased twice during the past three years to raise the first $200 million. The funds are being funneled into elevating major roads and constructing seawalls on the island’s vulnerable western coast, in addition to installing water pumps and check valves, which were lacking last year. 

The buildings in neighborhoods that have the improvements will remain dry, says Bruce Mowry, Miami Beach’s city engineer, who came to Florida from California three years ago to tackle the flooding. “As long as we have a good power source and the electric pumps are running, I believe the city is safe for the time being,” he says. “If we get a hurricane, all that drops.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Nature has a superior way of showing who is boss. The crisis of seal level rise affords inhabitants few hard choices.

"Recent predictions by the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact—a collaboration of government officials from Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties—indicate that by the end of the century, the sea could rise as high as six and a half feet above the 1992 mean level. That means up to 12 inches by 2030, and 34 inches by 2060. Even though those predictions fall on the conservative side, such changes would submerge the whole island."
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What’s good for the planet is good for health ("air we breathe is getting worse by 8%; not better")

What’s good for the planet is good for health ("air we breathe is getting worse by 8%; not better") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Stop and take a breath. No matter where you live in the world, the chances are great that the air filling your lungs is polluted. Worldwide, roughly 9 out of 10 people live in places where air quality levels exceed the World Health Organization’s safe limits.

Unfortunately, the air we breathe is getting worse not better. Between 2008 and 2013, air pollution levels increased by 8% among cities that monitored air pollution globally. Every year an estimated 6.5 million people die from lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke and heart disease associated with air pollution.

The devastating consequences of air pollution affect both the climate and health. They are seen everywhere from smog-encircled mega-cities to village dwellings filled with smoke from indoor cooking. Yet virtually all air pollution is man-made - and often excessive.

Climate change compromises the essential prerequisites for good health - safe water, secure shelter and food security. Without them tens of thousands of lives are needlessly lost each year. Between 2030 and 2050, WHO estimates climate change will cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year, from undernutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress.

Fortunately, climate change is headed for a course correction. Last year, the Paris Agreement marked a turning point for climate change, when more than 190 countries agreed to keep the global average temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius. 

However, much remains to be done to make this a reality.

As the Paris Agreement enters into force and parties to the Agreement meet in Morocco, “the right to health” must remain central to the climate actions implemented by all countries. If we look at history, the health sector provides the best evidence and arguments to sound the alarm and compel countries to take action.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The global struggle for clean air goes on, but we are not yet winning.

"Worldwide, roughly 9 out of 10 people live in places where air quality levels exceed the World Health Organization’s safe limits.
"Unfortunately, the air we breathe is getting worse not better. Between 2008 and 2013, air pollution levels increased by 8% among cities that monitored air pollution globally. Every year an estimated 6.5 million people die from lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke and heart disease associated with air pollution.
"The devastating consequences of air pollution affect both the climate and health. ..."
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The Methane Riddle: What Is Causing the Rise in Emissions? ("microbes in wetlands, rice paddies")

The Methane Riddle: What Is Causing the Rise in Emissions? ("microbes in wetlands, rice paddies") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The cause of the rapid increase in methane emissions since 2007 has puzzled scientists. But new research finds some surprising culprits in the methane surge and shows that fossil-fuel sources have played a much larger role over time than previously estimated.

Until now, the world has not had a definitive answer to these questions. But in recent months, researchers believe they have finally begun to crack the problem — and the results are surprising. 

The amount of methane in the atmosphere has more than doubled in the past 250 years. It has been responsible for about a fifth of global warming. But it has a confusing recent history. The steady rise of emissions stopped in the 1990s. Emissions were stable for almost a decade until 2007, but then abruptly resumed their rise. 

What has been going on? Fracking of natural gas in the U.S. and elsewhere has frequently been blamed for the resumed rise in emissions. But new studies are raising serious questions about that. 

Researchers are now saying say that, globally at least, the increase in recent years is due to the activities of microbes in wetlands, rice paddies, and the guts of ruminants. “Despite the large increase in natural gas production, there has not been an upward trend in industrial emissions,” says Stefan Schwietzke, of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder, Colo., who is the lead author of one of the new studies. 

Yet that hardly exonerates gas fracking. It turns out that, all along, natural gas and other fossil fuels have been a bigger source of methane emissions than the industry has declared in submissions to governments and the UN. The companies may not have been deliberately lying; but the new studies prove that they were certainly and comprehensively wrong. 

Bert Guevara's insight:
Where is the spike in methane coming from?
Researchers are now saying say that, globally at least, the increase in recent years is due to the activities of microbes in wetlands, rice paddies, and the guts of ruminants.

"Methane lasts in the atmosphere only for about 12 years, much less than CO2; but while there, it packs a punch. Measured over a century, a molecule of methane warms the planet roughly 30 times more than CO2.
"For more than two centuries, rising methane emissions have resulted in steady increases in the concentration of the gas in the atmosphere. In fact, while CO2 concentrations have so far risen by only about 40 percent since pre-industrial times, methane levels have more than doubled, rising from 700 parts per billion to almost 1,800 ppb."
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UK gov't loses High Court case on air pollution ("another court victory for our lungs & clean air")

UK gov't loses High Court case on air pollution ("another court victory for our lungs & clean air") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

A judge rules in favor of the group's case, declaring that the government's Air Quality Plan was unlawful and 'must be quashed' and rewritten.

The ClientEarth non-governmental organisation (NGO) argued that Britain's environment minister had failed to take action to comply with European Union law on levels of nitrogen dioxide "as soon as possible". 

A judge ruled in favor of the group's case, declaring that the government's Air Quality Plan was unlawful and "must be quashed" and rewritten. 

The defeat is a blow for the government as it seeks to demonstrate its commitment to the global climate change deal struck in Paris last year. 

ClientEarth's case focused on claims that ministers prioritised costs over health implications when drawing up plans to cut emissions. 

The government's own data estimates that air pollution causes more than 40,000 premature deaths a year in Britain. 

In his ruling, judge Neil Garnham said the government's goal of complying with EU targets nationally by 2020 and in London by 2025 were too distant and its model for future emissions "too optimistic". 

Limits for nitrogen dioxide were introduced by EU law in 1999, and were to be achieved by 2010. 

ClientEarth says that 37 out of 43 zones across Britain remain in breach of legal limits.

This case is the second the British government has lost in two years on its failure to clean up air pollution. 

ClientEarth won a Supreme Court case on the same issue in April 2015, when ministers were ordered to draw up a plan to reduce air pollution. That plan has now been found to be legally flawed.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Citizens have new hope that the human right to clean air can be defended in court, based on this latest High Court victory in the U.K.

"Today's High Court ruling brings sharply into focus the scale of the country's air pollution crisis and lays the blame at the door of the government for its complacency in failing to tackle the problem quickly and credibly," he said. ClientEarth chief executive 
"James Thornton welcomed the ruling and urged May to "take immediate action now to deal with illegal levels of pollution and prevent tens of thousands of additional early deaths in the UK."
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Air pollution more deadly in Africa than malnutrition or dirty water ("the quiet unseen eliminator")

Air pollution more deadly in Africa than malnutrition or dirty water ("the quiet unseen eliminator") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Annual human and economic cost of tainted air runs to 712,000 lost lives and £364bn, finds Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Africa’s air pollution is causing more premature deaths than unsafe water or childhood malnutrition, and could develop into a health and climate crisis reminiscent of those seen in China and India, a study by a global policy forum has found. 

The first major attempt to calculate both the human and financial cost of the continent’s pollution suggests dirty air could be killing 712,000 people a year prematurely, compared with approximately 542,000 from unsafe water, 275,000 from malnutrition and 391,000 from unsafe sanitation.

While most major environmental hazards have been improving with development gains and industrialisation, outdoor (or “ambient particulate”) air pollution from traffic, power generation and industries is increasing rapidly, especially in fast-developing countries such as Egypt, South Africa, Ethiopia and Nigeria. 

“Annual deaths from ambient [outdoor] particulate matter pollution across the African continent increased by 36% from 1990 to 2013. Over the same period, deaths from household air pollution also continued to increase, but only by 18%”, said a researcher at the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development development centre. The OECD is funded by the world’s richest 35 countries.

For Africa as a whole, the estimated economic cost of premature air pollution deaths in 2013 was roughly $215bn (£175bn) a year for outdoor air pollution, and $232bn for household, or indoor, air pollution.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Dirty air from both indoors and outdoors poses a problem for Africans. Where can you go to breathe clean air?

“The ‘new’ problem of outdoor air pollution is too large to be ignored or deferred to tomorrow’s agenda. At the same time, Africa cannot afford to ignore the ‘old’ problem of household pollution or to consider it largely solved: it is only a few high-income countries – Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritius, Morocco, Seychelles and Tunisia – that can afford to view the problem of air pollution as being a problem of outdoor particulate pollution alone.”
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Cancer survivors urge LGUs to prepare for nationwide smoking ban ("cause of 10 deaths per hour")

Cancer survivors urge LGUs to prepare for nationwide smoking ban ("cause of 10 deaths per hour") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

An organization of laryngeal cancer survivors is urging local government units to get ready to implement a nationwide public smoking ban President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to declare.

An organization of laryngeal cancer survivors is urging local government units to get ready to implement a nationwide public smoking ban President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to declare. 

New Vois Association of the Philippines president Emer Rojas pointed out that the executive order Duterte will be signing leaves it up to local governments to impose the appropriate penalties for violations. 

€œ"As we anticipate the signing of the EO on nationwide smoking ban, we urge all LGU to prepare ordinances to further strengthen the order,"€ Rojas said. 

The impending smoking ban, an election promise of Duterte, was announced recently by Health Secretary Paulyn Ubal, whose department submitted the draft EO to the president. It generally follows the smoking ban in Davao City, where Duterte served as mayor, prohibiting smoking in public places including parks, bus stations and inside vehicles and does away with designated indoor smoking lounges. 

Rojas said the national policy comes at a time when it is important to safeguard the public health against the harmful effects of exposure to tobacco smoke. There are more than 80 million Filipinos who are not smokers but are exposed to tobacco smoke either in homes or in public places. "€œWe seek to mobilize the people to be our watchdog for the people'€™s health to support the government. The smoking ban intends to protect the non-smokers who may be exposed to secondhand smoke,"€ Rojas said. 

A youth group also threw its support for the ban, saying it would not only protect the health of young Filipinos but will also prevent them from engaging in other vices like drugs. 

"Cigarette smoking is a gateway to substance abuse and thus should be stopped as a preventive measure to wage an effective war on drugs,” said Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition president Ellirie Aviles. 

There are an estimated 17.3 million adult Filipinos who consume tobacco at an average of 11 sticks per day. The vice is blamed for diseases such as stroke, heart disease and respiratory ailments.

It is also estimated that 10 Filipinos die from a smoking-related disease every hour.

Bert Guevara's insight:
I am a non-smoker. It's time for my right to clean air to be respected.

"Rojas said the national policy comes at a time when it is important to safeguard the public health against the harmful effects of exposure to tobacco smoke. There are more than 80 million Filipinos who are not smokers but are exposed to tobacco smoke either in homes or in public places."
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Nations agree to ban refrigerants that worsen climate change ("will reduce global temp by 0.5 deg C")

Nations agree to ban refrigerants that worsen climate change ("will reduce global temp by 0.5 deg C") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Use of heat-trapping hydrofluorocarbons to be cut sharply under ozone treaty.

Negotiators from 197 countries have reached an historic agreement to reduce emissions of chemical refrigerants that contribute to global warming. The deal, finalized on 15 October at a United Nations meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, could reduce projected emissions by as much as 88% over the course of the 21st century.

“It's a great deal for the climate,” says Guus Velders, an atmospheric scientist at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven, Netherlands.

The pact represents a major expansion of the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which was intended to halt the destruction of the Earth’s protective ozone layer. That treaty successfully curbed use of ozone-depleting chemicals used as refrigerants and in other industrial processes, but many of their replacements — known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) — are potent greenhouse gases. Governments will now use the Montreal agreement to promote a new generation of chemicals that are safe for the climate as well as the ozone layer.

HFCs are a small but growing slice of world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Scientists project that HFCs could contribute up to 0.5 °C of warming by the end of the century if left unchecked1, 2. Velders' calculations suggest that contribution could be slashed to just 0.06 °C, assuming that countries stick to the schedules laid out in the Kigali agreement.

The pact comes amid a flurry of international activity to address climate change. On October 6, the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization struck a deal intended to slow the growth in emissions from international aviation. A day earlier the European Union pushed the world across a critical threshold by joining the 2015 Paris climate agreement, ensuring that the pact would enter into force this year.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The pact comes amid a flurry of international activity to address climate change. ("Climate revolution is picking up!")
On October 6, the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization struck a deal intended to slow the growth in emissions from international aviation. 
A day earlier the European Union pushed the world across a critical threshold by joining the 2015 Paris climate agreement, ensuring that the pact would enter into force this year.

"HFCs are a small but growing slice of world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Scientists project that HFCs could contribute up to 0.5 °C of warming by the end of the century if left unchecked1, 2. Velders' calculations suggest that contribution could be slashed to just 0.06 °C, assuming that countries stick to the schedules laid out in the Kigali agreement."
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OPEC’s Top Producer Is Turning to Wind and Solar Power ("they made the most common sense decision")

OPEC’s Top Producer Is Turning to Wind and Solar Power ("they made the most common sense decision") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The nation most identified with its massive oil reserves is turning to wind and solar to generate power at home and help extend the life of its crucial crude franchise.

Starting this year, Saudi Arabia plans to develop almost 10 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023, starting with wind and solar plants in its vast northwestern desert. The effort could replace the equivalent of 80,000 barrels of oil a day now burned for power. Add in natural gas projects set to start later this decade, and the Saudis could quadruple that number, according to consultant Wood MacKenzie Ltd. That could supplant all the crude burned in the kingdom during its winter months.  

The effort goes hand-in-hand with a drive by the royal family to broaden the economy following two years of budget deficits tied to low oil prices. More industry, though, means more energy, with the amount of power used at peak times growing by 10 percent in the last year alone. 

“Renewable energy is not a luxury anymore,” said Mario Maratheftis, chief economist at Standard Chartered Plc., in an interview. "If domestic use continues like this, eventually the Saudis won’t have spare oil to export.’’

In all, Saudi Arabia is seeking $30 billion to $50 billion worth of investment in renewables, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said this month. The ministry will set up a division to handle the tenders until the country establishes a new independent buyer for all power supplies. 

“The terms on renewable contracts will be motivating so that the cost of generating power from these renewable sources will be the lowest in the world,” Al-Falih said at a news conference in Riyadh. The kingdom will award its first tenders to build 700 megawatts of solar and wind energy in September, Al-Falih said.

Bert Guevara's insight:
When a country has so much sun and wind, why not use it using the money earned from oil? This is the smartest direction chosen by an oil-rich nation, who admits that oil is a consumable resource.

“Renewable energy is not a luxury anymore,” said Mario Maratheftis, chief economist at Standard Chartered Plc., in an interview. "If domestic use continues like this, eventually the Saudis won’t have spare oil to export.’’
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Oklahoma hits 100 ° in the dead of winter, because climate change is real ("crazy weather is here!")

Oklahoma hits 100 ° in the dead of winter, because climate change is real ("crazy weather is here!") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Two years ago this month, in a well-publicized and much lampooned political stunt, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) brought a snowball to the Senate floor to highlight the “unseasonable” cold and cast doubt…

Oklahoma just endured a spell of exceptionally hot weather. Mangum, Oklahoma saw temperatures close to 100º F, setting a state record. The average February high in Mangum is 56º F.

It is extremely unusual to see such sweltering temperatures in the dead of winter, but climate change is loading the dice for record-breaking heat. Here, the human fingerprint is clear. Carbon pollution traps heat, warming the planet. This, in turn, shifts the entire distribution of temperatures.

Cold days become more rare, while warm days become routine. The hottest days — the ones that break records — are almost invariably linked to human influence. In this new climate system, extreme heat is far more likely than extreme cold. Over the last year, the United States has seen more than four times as many record high temperatures as record lows. The heat in Oklahoma is just the latest example.

Many people may welcome a temperate day in February, but warm weather in normally cold months disrupts ecosystems. Trees may bloom after an unseasonably balmy spell — and then suffer frost damage when cold weather returns. Flowers may blossom and shed their petals before bees arrive to pollinate them. These minor destabilizations have a ripple effect, impacting flora, fauna, and the industries built around them.

Bert Guevara's insight:
When the climate undergoes significant changes, then natural cycles may get confused and go through a period of adaptation. The period of adaptation may get painful.

"Many people may welcome a temperate day in February, but warm weather in normally cold months disrupts ecosystems. Trees may bloom after an unseasonably balmy spell — and then suffer frost damage when cold weather returns. Flowers may blossom and shed their petals before bees arrive to pollinate them. These minor destabilizations have a ripple effect, impacting flora, fauna, and the industries built around them."
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92% of us are breathing unsafe air. This map shows just how bad the problem is

92% of us are breathing unsafe air. This map shows just how bad the problem is | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released new research revealing which places are most – and least – affected by air pollution.

An estimated 92% of the world’s population lives in areas where air pollution exceeds safety limits, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which has released new research showing where the worst – and least – affected places are. 

Interactive maps highlight the magnitude of the problem: swathes of the world are coloured yellow, orange, red and purple, meaning air quality breaches WHO limits.

Parts of Africa, Eastern Europe, India, China and the Middle East are the biggest regional danger spots. The WHO says almost all air pollution-related deaths (94%) occur in low- and middle-income countries. 

Large areas of developed countries including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavian nations meet safety guidelines. But, as the map shows, much of Europe is breathing dirty air. 

Even within countries, levels of air pollution can vary. In Italy, for example, air quality in the industrial north is particularly bad.

The WHO’s latest research is its most detailed to date on outdoor air pollution by country. It shows around 3 million deaths globally are linked to pollution from vehicles, power generation and industry.

However, indoor air pollution caused by smoke from cooking stoves or fires can be just as deadly, the WHO says. Together, outdoor and indoor air pollution were associated with the deaths of an estimated 6.5 million people worldwide in 2012. That’s 11.6% of all global deaths – more than the number of people killed by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and road injuries combined.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Even if you clean your air, you cannot escape the pollution coming from a far-away neighbor because we only have one blanket of air on the planet.
Would you believe that? 

"An estimated 92% of the world’s population lives in areas where air pollution exceeds safety limits ...
"However, indoor air pollution caused by smoke from cooking stoves or fires can be just as deadly, the WHO says. Together, outdoor and indoor air pollution were associated with the deaths of an estimated 6.5 million people worldwide in 2012. That’s 11.6% of all global deaths – more than the number of people killed by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and road injuries combined."
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East Antarctica is Melting From Above and Below ("why should we worry with ice caps so far away?")

East Antarctica is Melting From Above and Below ("why should we worry with ice caps so far away?") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Warm water and air are both cutting into ice in a previously stable part of Antarctica.

East Antarctica is remote even by Antarctic standards. Harsh winds and ocean currents have largely cut off the region from the rest of the world. 

That’s left its massive stores of ice largely intact, especially compared to West Antarctica where a massive meltdown is underway that could raise seas by 10 or more feet in the coming centuries. But as carbon pollution warms the air and the ocean, there are signs that the region’s stability is under threat. Two new studies of different ice shelves — tongues of ice that essentially act as bathtub plugs — have seen major melting that could portend a less stable future for the region.

So first, about those ice shelves. They are indeed like bathtub plugs. Except instead of keeping water in a tub, they keep ice on the continent of Antarctica. That’s good because when it ends up melting into the ocean, it causes seas to rise. East Antarctica contains about two-thirds of all the ice in Antarctica so its stability is crucial for the world’s coastal areas. 

But strange things have been happening recently. During a 2014 flyover of the Roi Baudouin ice shelf, scientists noticed a curious depression more than a mile wide in the undulating ice. When they finally investigated it in January this year, they found walls that were about 10 feet high and meltwater pouring into moulins — features that funnel surface meltwater into the heart of the ice.

The moulins were just one sign of melt happening on the surface. When scientists drilled a hole in the ice and lowered a camera, they found an otherworldly blue lake stretching more than half a mile across.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Why should we in the Philippines be worried about the remote Antarctic ice situation?
Because we have one of the highest rates of sea level rise in the planet because of our location. Those living along the coasts should worry.

"East Antarctica contains about two-thirds of all the ice in Antarctica so its stability is crucial for the world’s coastal areas.
“Given the strong response of surface meltwater production and extent of meltwater processes on the shelf to summer temperature, we can expect that in a warmer climate, these ice shelves might be vulnerable to instability that is driven by meltwater hydrofracturing.”
This on its own would be distressing news for the planet’s coastal communities.
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China’s schools beat the smog with live-streaming ("actually, they still breathe dirty air at home")

China’s schools beat the smog with live-streaming ("actually, they still breathe dirty air at home") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

A total of 12 schools equipped with broadcasting facilities were giving lessons online on Tuesday, the first school day of 2017 and the third day of the city’s top level smog alert, said an official with the city’s educational bureau.

A total of 12 schools equipped with broadcasting facilities were giving lessons online on Tuesday, the first school day of 2017 and the third day of the city’s top level smog alert, said an official with the city’s educational bureau. 

At 18 minutes per session, classes include major teaching content of the current curriculum at various grades, said the official. 

All primary and high school students were encouraged to access the city teaching resource-sharing website. A local educational cable television has also been arranged for elite courses during the smoggy weather, he said. 

Xi’an City initiated the first level response for heavy air pollution at 6 p.m. on Sunday, requiring all schools and kindergartens to suspend classes.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Beijing is on its second day of red alert against air pollution. Schools send their students home and introduce learning online. 

But are the students getting cleaner air at home? Actually, there is no escaping dirty air; only minimizing the effects. 
This scenario may happen some day in the Philippines if we don't manage the problem seriously.
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How Climate Change Is Leading to an 'Ecological Recession' ("animals running out of habitats")

How Climate Change Is Leading to an 'Ecological Recession' ("animals running out of habitats") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Scientists have published a number of studies observing how plants and animals shift their range slightly toward cooler temperatures in response to global warming. The hope is that even as the global warms, wildlife may be able to adapt simply by moving. But new research published in the journal PLOS Biology suggests that nearly half of the species that attempt such a move wind up extinct in that area, unable to adapt fully to a new habitat. The results suggest that moving habitats may not be an effective adaptation method in the coming decades as the Earth continues to warm by several multiples of what has already occurred, researchers behind the study say.

The scientists found a pattern of extinction across a wide variety of climate and habitats, though the phenomenon harms some areas more than others. Tropical species are among the hardest hit with 55% facing local extinction following a move compared to just 39% of their counterparts in temperate environments, according the study.

Humans may be harming the ability of species to adjust beyond causing the planet to warm, the study says. Agriculture, man-made structures and other urban developments remove potential habitats and block potential paths to disperse. 

The study joins a growing list of research across the globe showing a decline in biodiversity, a measure of the different plant and animal species in a given area. A study published in the journal Science earlier this year found that biodiversity has fallen to unsustainable levels across more than half of the world’s surface.

Bert Guevara's insight:
There is a slow quiet disaster happening worldwide that is resulting in a massive extinction, especially in the tropics. Climate change is more than just typhoons, rains and drought.

“Decision-makers worry a lot about economic recessions,” said author Andy Purvis, a professor at the Natural History Museum in London, earlier this year. “But an ecological recession could have even worse consequences—and the biodiversity damage we’ve had means we’re at risk of that happening.”
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Arctic, Antarctic sea ice at record lows ("what happens in the Arctic DOES NOT stay in the Arctic.")

Arctic, Antarctic sea ice at record lows ("what happens in the Arctic DOES NOT stay in the Arctic.") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Temperatures in the Arctic have soared recently, and sea ice in both Antarctica and the Arctic are at record lows for the first time.

For what appears to be the first time since scientists began keeping track, sea ice in the Arctic and the Antarctic are at record lows this time of year. 

"It looks like, since the beginning of October, that for the first time we are seeing both the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice running at record low levels," said Walt Meier, a research scientist with the Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, who has tracked sea ice data going back to 1979.

The decline of sea ice has been a key indicator that climate change is happening, but its loss, especially in the Arctic, can mean major changes for your weather, too.

Temperatures in the Arctic have soared recently, and scientists are struggling to explain exactly why, and what the consequences will be. Air temperatures have been running more than 35 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) above average.

At the same time, sea ice in the northern latitudes is at a lower level than ever observed for this time of the year. October and November are typically a time of rapid ice gain for the Arctic region, as daylight hours become shorter and shorter and eventually non-existent during what's referred to as the "polar night." Air temperatures plummet to below zero degrees Fahrenheit and parts of the Arctic Ocean not covered with ice quickly become covered. But this year, those air temperatures are staying much warmer, closer to the freezing mark of 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

To make matters worse, the water temperatures in the Arctic Ocean are several degrees above average, which is an expected result of having less sea ice. With less ice in the summer, more of the sun's rays can heat the darker water, as opposed to being deflected back into space by the white ice cover. The result is a feedback loop, and one that scientists have warned about for some time.

Bert Guevara's insight:
What happens in the Arctic DOES NOT stay in the Arctic. ... But what happens when the Antarctic behaves in the same way. Is the planet screwed?

"It's far too early to tell if what we are seeing in the Arctic, and now the Antarctic, is a sharp shift towards warmer poles with less ice. Scientists are quick to point out that weather in these regions can change quickly, but this is another expected result of climate change. And enough examples can become trends -- and trends can have consequences."
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Carbon Dioxide Emissions Close to Flat for Third Straight Year, Report Says ("mitigation succeeding?")

Carbon Dioxide Emissions Close to Flat for Third Straight Year, Report Says ("mitigation succeeding?") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels around the globe remained steady last year and will only rise slightly in 2016.

Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels around the globe remained steady last year and will only rise slightly in 2016, according to new research. Researchers behind the study, conducted at the Global Carbon Project and published in the journal Earth System Science Data, project that carbon dioxide emissions will rise 0.2% in 2016. That represents a small fraction of the average 2.3% annual growth in the decade prior to 2013. 

Countries around the globe have developed and implemented policies to slow emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary gas behind man-made climate change. The new research credits China’s efforts to decrease coal consumption as the primary cause of the emissions slowdown. The United States also continued to move away from coal power as natural gas and renewable generation comes online. 

Opponents on strong measures to address climate change have long-argued that emissions reductions would hurt the economy, but the slowdown reported in the new study comes despite global GDP growth that exceeds 3%.

“This is a great help for tackling climate change but it is not enough,” says study researcher Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia’s Global Carbon Project. “If climate negotiators in Marrakesh can build momentum for further cuts in emissions, we could be making a serious start to addressing climate change.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
The good news is that climate change mitigation efforts are gaining, at least for the last 3 years. But this is not enough to restore that which have been lost already. 
The damage to our oceans and polar caps will remain for decades.

"Countries around the globe have developed and implemented policies to slow emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary gas behind man-made climate change. The new research credits China’s efforts to decrease coal consumption as the primary cause of the emissions slowdown. The United States also continued to move away from coal power as natural gas and renewable generation comes online. 
"Opponents on strong measures to address climate change have long-argued that emissions reductions would hurt the economy, but the slowdown reported in the new study comes despite global GDP growth that exceeds 3%."
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World on track for 3C of warming under current global climate pledges, warns UN ("new pact needed?")

World on track for 3C of warming under current global climate pledges, warns UN ("new pact needed?") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Current climate commitments are insufficient to reduce emissions by the amounts needed to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, says Unep report.

The commitments made by governments on climate change will lead to dangerous levels of global warming because they are incommensurate with the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report. 

The United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) said that pledges put forward to cut emissions would see temperatures rise by 3C above pre-industrial levels, far above the the 2C of the Paris climate agreement, which comes into force on Friday. 

At least a quarter must be cut from emissions by the end of the next decade, compared with current trends, the UN said. 

The report found that emissions by 2030 were likely to reach about 54 to 56 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year, a long way astray of the 42 gigatonnes a year likely to be the level at which warming exceeds 2C.

Erik Solheim, chief of Unep, said the world was “moving in the right direction” on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change, but that measures should be taken urgently to avoid the need for much more drastic cuts in emissions in future. “If we don’t start taking additional action now, we will grieve over the avoidable human tragedy.” 

He warned in particular that people would start being displaced from their homes by the effects of climate change, suffering from drought, hunger, disease and conflicts arising from these afflictions. Mass migration as a result of climate change is hard to separate from other causes of migration, but is predicted to become a much greater problem.

Bert Guevara's insight:
All the good intentions of the world leaders, contained in the Paris Agreement, are not enough to keep us away from the feared 3C warming that we are all trying to escape from.
Do we need another strategy?

Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit thinktank, said: “Unep’s report confirms that there has been remarkable acceleration towards a global low-carbon economy over the past year, but considerably more action is required if governments are to meet the target they set under the Paris agreement.”
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Before the Flood - Full Movie | National Geographic ("4M views in 3 days, don't be the last to know")

Join Leonardo DiCaprio as he explores the topic of climate change, and discovers what must be done today to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet.


Bert Guevara's insight:
After 3 days of posting, this video-docu received 4M views. Find out what's the big fuzz about its message.

"Join Leonardo DiCaprio as he explores the topic of climate change, and discovers what must be done today to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet."
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Nano-spike catalysts convert carbon dioxide directly into ethanol ("needs development but promising")

In a new twist to waste-to-fuel technology, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed an electrochemical process that uses tiny spikes of carbon and copper to turn carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into ethanol. Their finding, which involves nanofabrication and catalysis science, was serendipitous.

This process has several advantages when compared to other methods of converting CO2 into fuel. The reaction uses common materials like copper and carbon, and it converts the CO2 into ethanol, which is already widely used as a fuel. 

Perhaps most importantly, it works at room temperature, which means that it can be started and stopped easily and with little energy cost. This means that this conversion process could be used as temporary energy storage during a lull in renewable energy generation, smoothing out fluctuations in a renewable energy grid.

"A process like this would allow you to consume extra electricity when it's available to make and store as ethanol," said Rondinone. "This could help to balance a grid supplied by intermittent renewable sources." 

The researchers plan to further study this process and try and make it more efficient. If they're successful, we just might see large-scale carbon capture using this technique in the near future.

Bert Guevara's insight:
A possible climate mitigation tool ....
Scientists have discovered a chemical reaction to turn CO2 into ethanol, potentially creating a new technology to help avert climate change.

"The researchers were attempting to find a series of chemical reactions that could turn CO2 into a useful fuel, when they realized the first step in their process managed to do it all by itself. The reaction turns CO2 into ethanol, which could in turn be used to power generators and vehicles."
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Past our peak: plants and a burgeoning problem with CO2 ("too much co2? plants get fed up too!")

Past our peak: plants and a burgeoning problem with CO2 ("too much co2? plants get fed up too!") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Weatherwatch The growing season has lengthened across the northern hemisphere, helping keep a lid on global warming - but for how much longer?

In recent decades warmer temperatures have led to shorter winters, and in the UK the plant growing season is now a full month longer than it was in 1990. The same is true across much of the northern hemisphere, and this extra plant growth has helped to mop up atmospheric carbon dioxide and keep a lid on global warming. But no longer.

New measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide reveal that plants have reached saturation point, and that since 2006 the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by plants has been declining. “It’s the first evidence that we are tipping over the edge, potentially towards runaway or irreversible climate change,” says James Curran, former chief executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Together with his son, Sam, he analysed the ups and downs in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, recorded at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii since 1958. During the northern hemisphere summer, carbon dioxide levels dip as fresh plant growth draws down carbon dioxide. But the Currans’ analysis shows that since 2006 the size of the dip has diminished and vegetation has become poorer at soaking up carbon dioxide, contributing another China’s-worth of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year. Previous estimates had suggested that Earth would not reach “peak-carbon” until at least 2030. “It suggests to me that we urgently need to get to grips with declining biodiversity across the globe, and consider radical new policies such as re-wilding large areas of landscape,” says Curran, whose findings are published in the journal Weather . Quite how our weather will respond to the extra carbon dioxide remains to be seen...

Bert Guevara's insight:
Start worrying!
New measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide reveal that plants have reached saturation point, and that since 2006 the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by plants has been declining. 

“It’s the first evidence that we are tipping over the edge, potentially towards runaway or irreversible climate change,” says James Curran, former chief executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
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